With planning for the next census in 2021 well underway at National Records of Scotland, our Statistical Futures team are focussed on understanding the needs of our users, data users and respondents.
As part of our preparations, Sophie Davies and Anna Krakowska from the Enumeration team have been engaging with groups and organisations that work with homeless people, as well as with people who are currently or formerly homeless, to better understand their needs and any barriers to participation.
Sophie and Anna have met and held workshops with Fresh Start, Cyrenians, Crisis and Rowan Alba, as well as with Homeless Action Scotland, Edinburgh Council Housing Support Services and Heriot Watt University. In the course of their research, Sophie and Anna also visited Edinburgh’s only homeless shelter, run by Bethany Christian Trust.
These discussions have inspired a strategic rethink for counting homeless people in Scotland during the 2021 Census. The data from the census in 2011 estimated that there were 98 people homeless or sleeping rough in Scotland, whereas Heriot-Watt researchers estimated there are currently around 600.
The Enumeration team is therefore designing and developing a detailed, tailored enumeration strategy, in collaboration with key stakeholders, to help improve data collected on homeless people in 2021.
The success of Scotland’s Census 2021 will require the continued support and contribution of many groups and organisations. Sophie and Anna’s work is helping to ensure that the next census will provide valuable and high quality data.